As relief pours into countries devastated by the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, some efforts to help are particularly noticeable.
Take the response of actress Sandra Bullock, for instance.
Bullock reacted to the catastrophic waves with a $1 million personal donation to the American Red Cross. But this isn't the first time Bullock has dug deep into her own pockets to help victims in times of crisis.
She also donated $1 million in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Every dime available is needed in Southeast Asia right now. Deaths from the catastrophe have surpassed 145,000 and are still climbing. Besides having to deal with the loss of family and other loved ones, many victims lost everything and are struggling to survive amid primitive conditions.
Donations and pledges are being channeled to the area from every corner of the globe, from nations and organizations and people from all walks of life.
Many celebrities and famous folks have the means to give more abundantly than other people. But having money for beneficial causes and actually using it to benefit others are two very different things.
The screen-friendly Bullock has become a model of a different sort of personal generosity.
Her giving is inspirational to everyone, regardless of stature or financial condition.
Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
Federal drug abuse study
contains troubling news
More teenagers are turning their backs on cigarettes and illicit drugs, according to a federal study that looked at eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders, and the decline in use is certainly encouraging. ...
But despite these positive trends, there's troubling data in the study that was done by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The use of inhalants, such as glues and aerosols, increased in all three groups after years of decline. The survey showed a slight increase in underage drinking among older teens, and the drug Oxycontin was one of the only illegal substances that showed an increase in use. ...
While the high cost of cigarettes and stricter marketing controls get some of the credit, anti-smoking ads have had an impact, too. Nearly three-fourths of the 12th-graders surveyed this year said that they would prefer not to date a smoker up from only a third in 1977. ...
If young people can be persuaded not to light up because of the risk of cancer, emphysema and heart disease, it's clear that more needs to be done to educate them about the considerable risk involved in using inhalants. ...
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans
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